Allan wary as Self Flit draws outside barrier
Ivan Allan's fragile confidence in Self Flit's ability to run a bold race for Hong Kong in tomorrow's Group One Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo has been at least fractured after drawing the outside barrier.
Self Flit (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) will jump from stall 18 in the big field - often an advantage on Yasuda Kinen day, but perhaps not this time.
'The track is so fast at the moment here, I think that the inside going will be the best this year,' Allan said yesterday. 'There are two or three who go forward in the race so perhaps with a good jump away, Eddie can go forward with them and get across, but it means we have to use him up a bit early. Nothing we can do, it's part of life.
'I'll just keep reminding Eddie that the first prize is US$1.5 million - maybe he'll produce something special for us with an incentive like that!'
Allan took Self Flit and Lai out for a look at the track yesterday with the Japan Racing Association allowing the horse and rider to use tomorrow's actual starting position. 'They were very accommodating, no nonsense. We had the gates right where they will be on Sunday and Self Flit behaved like a gentleman in there,' Allan said. 'The horse is well enough, we have to hope for some luck.'
The contest for favourite will likely be between two beaten runners from the last Hong Kong Mile, Lohengrin and Telegnosis, along with Win Radius, the mount of Australian, Damien Oliver, currently on contract with top trainer Kazuo Fujisawa.
Win Radius beat fast-finishing Telegnosis in the Keio Hai Spring Cup last start, the traditional 1,400 metre lead-up to the Yasuda Kinen.
Closer to home, Hong Kong Jockey Club officials met with trainers yesterday to discuss a renewed focus on improving efficiency in stables. Owners will pay a higher livery charge next season, but the executive director of racing, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said the club was also hoping a 'user pays' type of system might allow some lower ranking trainers to compete for owners on a cost basis.
Trainers will have greater flexibility in managing their stable requirements, especially with staff numbers and tasking.
'We want the system to be more flexible to the needs and styles of individual trainers, rather than have the same resources and costs in each yard,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said.